Land Trust Ranching in Their Hands by Anne Muller


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Jackson Hole Land Trust set out to capture the spirit of the ranch managers of conservation easement protected lands with photographer Anne Muller. These are the men and women who keep Jackson Hole's agricultural lands in production.

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Land Trust Ranching in Their Hands by Anne Muller

  1. 2. Jackson Hole Land Trust set out to document the people behind the areas iconic conservation easement protected lands that still remain in agricultural production. Specifically, the ranch managers, the unsung heroes of the valleys’ horse and cattle operations who labor sun up to sun down to keep the fields green, the ditches flowing, the fences mended, the hay cut and the animals fed. These are the men and women for whom agricultural tradition is not just a fleeting memory, but an everyday gesture. In their work-gloved hands rests the maintenance of some of the last vestiges of ranching culture in the area. In the process of this project we discovered what drives these individuals and how little public awareness there is about the amount of work that goes into these open pastures and livestock bedecked vistas, still characteristic of Jackson Hole despite the march of modern time.
  2. 3. Chris and Jerome Young make their home in Buffalo Valley. Chris’ family homesteaded in the area in 1910. They raise their own cattle as well as manage the Hatchet Ranch owned by Barbara Carlsberg and the Hatchet Meadow owned by Jackson Hole Land Trust. Between the acres they own and the acres they manage this couple keeps 1200 acres in agricultural production. In their hands lie the green and open meadows of Buffalo Valley.
  3. 4. <ul><li>When I came from Virginia some 35 years ago, I was enthralled with the wild ranch scene. While there are no longer big drives, there are still cattle and horses working on this land, which is a great thing, a great way to preserve a way of life. We live this life because it is a part of the west. We still get pretty emotional about it all. - Jerome </li></ul>
  4. 5. <ul><li>It’s your work but also your joy to see all the seasons on this land. The Hatchet Ranch is owned by Barbara, but we get to enjoy it everyday. </li></ul><ul><li>- Chris </li></ul>
  5. 6. <ul><li>I have this job so I can support </li></ul><ul><li>my wife’s cow habit - Jerome </li></ul>
  6. 8. <ul><li>This work is important because it gives me faith in our own country’s producers. We work to keep this land healthy and it is just not healthy to be getting all our sustenance from foreign sources. - Chris </li></ul>
  7. 9. <ul><li>With the Land Trust we are partners in a joint effort to keep the land green and open. We are in mutual trust. -Jerome </li></ul>
  8. 11. <ul><li>We love the land---the sunrises and sunsets and hours in between. Seeing the fields green up in the spring, the little calves frisking around. Weathering a snowstorm while feeding our livestock with our good Belgian team, Ben and Jerry. Expectantly waiting for my seeds to sprout in my new seeding experiment. Haying, running the mower in the very late evening as the sun sets behind the mountains. </li></ul><ul><li>We love the land. - Chris </li></ul>
  9. 12. <ul><li>Muggs Schultz has lived and worked at Trail Creek Ranch since 1950. A ski maven in her own right, Muggs has worn many hats at Trail Creek over the years. Ski guiding the ranch guests up Teton Pass in the winter, and out on pack trips in the summer. When it became apparent that the ranch needed to produce its own hay for their horses, Muggs became the chief farmer and responsible for all that entails. At age 80, the 280 acres of Trail Creek Ranch are still lovingly maintained by her expertise. </li></ul><ul><li>Alex Menolascino arrived at Trail Creek Ranch in 1989. What began as a summer job quickly morphed into a home and lifestyle for her and her family. Alex is responsible for managing all of the guest related business, and assists Muggs in the general upkeep of the ranch. </li></ul>
  10. 14. <ul><li>The public does not understand the work involved from dragging the fields at the perfect time to maintaining the fences. It’s never ending; you mend one fence, then it’s time to clean and burn the ditches. Once the ditches are cleaned its time to irrigate, then spray weeds, then cut hay…and on it goes. -Muggs </li></ul>
  11. 15. <ul><li>I love being able to still work the land. If I had a house in town I think I would board it up and get the hell out. It is still very peaceful and quiet out here. I love being out here with the wildlife. -Muggs </li></ul>
  12. 17. <ul><li>More restrictions make it harder to do what we do. Growth around the ranch has made us change our operations. -Alex </li></ul>
  13. 18. Chance Abel manages the two-thousand acre Jackson Land and Cattle property in Spring Gulch, owned by Richard Fields. The operation is aimed at promoting American Quarter Horses, specifically roping and cutting horses. The land is grazed by both the roping cows as well as lease grazed. Nostalgic buck rail fencing frames the operation up Spring Gulch, which remains scenically green and cattle covered under Chance’s guidance.
  14. 20. <ul><li>I want my kids to grow up understanding the ties between life and business and grow up around ranching. Ranchers are good moral people who value doing what is right, sun up to sun down. - Chance </li></ul>
  15. 21. <ul><li>Sometimes you just gotta take care of things. - Chance </li></ul>
  16. 22. <ul><li>This land is not just about wildlife, it is about agriculture. We value wildlife movement and the productivity of the land. That is the way it was in this whole valley. We are trying to preserve a way of life. - Chance </li></ul>
  17. 23. <ul><li>We are a young staff of youthful individuals who try to preserve the nostalgia of Spring Gulch. We have new ideas on how to keep this place rooted in tradition. </li></ul><ul><li>- Chance </li></ul>
  18. 24. <ul><li>Ranching is loved for the lifestyle it provides, and certainly not what the hourly wage works out to be. </li></ul>
  19. 25. <ul><li>The real paycheck comes in the form of healthy land and healthy animals and the opportunity to see the sun rise more often than not. </li></ul>
  20. 26. There is no finer land stewardship than the gloved hands that know and work the land. Jackson Hole Land Trust is honored to work with the agricultural producers of the area to help make keeping the ranch an ongoing reality.
  21. 27. <ul><li>sponsored by Tom and Anne Muller </li></ul><ul><li>and generous donors to the Jackson Hole Land Trust </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>